Cross-border labour migration in Cambodia: Considerations for the national employment policy

This background analyses examines the on-going policy efforts to ensure informed, safe, and protected cross-border migration for Cambodian workers and suggests areas that the national employment policy can consider for further actions in Cambodia.

It is projected that Cambodia’s labour force will grow by 22 per cent between 2007 and 2015. Yet, the domestic labour market generates limited employment opportunities and relatively low wages compared to opportunities that exist abroad. As a result more Cambodians are considering leaving the country to find work abroad. An increasing number of migrants are female, largely due to increased demand for women in domestic work and in the manufacturing sectors. For overseas migration to be safe, legal and institutional mechanisms need to be in place to inform potential migrant workers about working abroad and their rights at work. Cambodia has been developing policy actions and institutions to enhance governance of the migration process. At the same time, more policy efforts may be needed to ensure that overseas migration also contributes to domestic economic and labour market development. The national employment policy could play a role in better connecting overseas migration to the Cambodian labour market.